China – Giant Panda Center

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Join GoEco on a volunteer expedition in China to help wildlife at a giant panda sanctuary!

Program Highlights:

  • Work closely with giant panda keepers at China’s largest giant panda sanctuary
  • Contribute to conservation efforts of this vulnerable species
  • Ethical wildlife volunteering
  • Live near the exciting city of Chengdu
  • Participate in cultural activities and city tours


Your Schedule at a Glance

Day 1, Sunday: Arrive at Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport (CTU). The local team will be waiting to pick you up and transfer you to the hostel accommodations in Chengdu. Meet your fellow volunteers once you have settled in.

Day 2, Monday: Walking tour of Chengdu, visit to Panda Breeding Center and delicious hot pot dinner.

Days 3-6, Tuesday- Friday: After breakfast, transfer to Panda Base in the mountains and partake in rewarding volunteer work at the panda center! Each day, volunteers will work at the panda center for 4-6 hours and in the evenings, volunteers will take part in cultural activities. These range from dumpling making to Chinese language lessons to hiking up to a temple. Volunteers can take Chinese language lessons daily from 4:00PM – 6:00PM upon request.

Day 7, Saturday: Departure day. Volunteers will take a bus to either Chengdu Airport or Chengdu city center if extending stay.


Location icon Location of the Project: 16 km from Ya’an City, China

Project length Project length: 1 week

Arrival Airport Arrival Airport: Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport (CTU)

Volunteer Work Volunteer Work:  Caring for pandas, food preparation, cleaning enclosures and observations

Age Age:  18 – 50 (This project may accept volunteers who are under 18 years old with a letter of consent from a parent or guardian.)

Number of Volunteers Number of Volunteers: Up to 5 – 10 international volunteers

Important Note Important Note: All volunteers need a visa to enter China. Please apply for this program 1-2 months in advance to allow sufficient time for visa processing. Families must upgrade to private accommodations for an additional charge.


What’s Included

Accommodations Accommodations: Shared hostel room

Food Food: Three meals a day (excluding arrival day)

Airport Transfers Airport Transfers:  Airport transfers upon arrival and departure

Support Support: Comprehensive and professional pre-departure travel guidance, 24/7 GoEco emergency hotline, experienced local field team.


What’s not Included

Flights, visas (if required), travel health insurance, personal expenses, meals on arrival day.

China is not only the most densely populated country in the world but also the oldest continuous civilization. At the forefront of technological development, China is a fusion of old and new world sentiment. With spectacular tourist attractions such as the Forbidden City, the Great Wall and the Bund riverfront, China offers a vast landscape to explore. China also offers amazing cuisine, already having influenced many of its western counterparts, and a captivating cultural history. Experience the rich cultural traditions of China while exploring its breathtaking natural beauty.


For over 20 years, this organization has worked for the preservation of the panda population and has now resolved three key problems of breeding, which restricted reproduction of the panda for a long time. The current panda birth and survival rates are some of the best in the world. The panda population of the program has risen from an initial 6 animals to over 70 pandas. In 2003 the first stage of a state-of-the-art panda base was completed: a veritable panda paradise. It is divided into 6 sections: panda raising and breeding area, scientific study area, food preparing and animal hospital area, staff living area, bamboo base area and tourist accommodation area. Thanks to rigorous conservation efforts, the giant panda is no longer on the World Wildlife Federation’s endangered species list; however, they are still considered a “vulnerable” species.
Your placement fee includes a significant donation to the Panda Reserve, allowing them to continue this important work.

Volunteers are needed to help safeguard the future of these most captivating animals. The program includes training on the care of pandas and volunteers will be assigned as an assistant to a trainer.

Some of your tasks may include:

  • Preparing food for the pandas such as apples, panda bread, and carrots
  • Chop and carry bamboo
  • Clean panda enclosures
  • Occasionally partake in observation and research (only with veterinary background)

This project includes many cultural activities, including a two-day exploration of Chengdu. Volunteers will be transferred to the Panda Reserve on Tuesday. There are complimentary Chinese language lessons available on the Reserve.

Important note: Since March 2014 there has been, and continues to be, no close contact with the pandas. This is to protect pandas and volunteers alike, due to their sensitivity and sometimes aggressive nature.

The reserve also has panda cub enclosures which are closed to visitors yet accessible to volunteers through viewing windows.
Panda cubs will only be on view during November-December at the Panda Base, but volunteers can see lots of cubs, sometimes even new-born babies, from July to September at Chengdu Panda Breeding Center.

Holidays: This program will be closed for the Chinese New Year, from January 20-31, 2020.

Internet icon Internet: Free WiFi is available.

Laundry icon Laundry: Laundry services are available for a small fee.

Accommodations icon Accommodations: For the first two nights in Chengdu you will be staying at a hostel in a shared room. During your volunteer placement, you will stay at a hostel located within the Panda Reserve, next to the Panda Conservation Base and surrounded by mountains. Accommodations are basic with both Western and squat toilets.

Food icon Food: Three meals per weekday are provided by the hostel restaurant. The food is made up of typical Chinese cuisine, consisting of rice, vegetables, noodles, and some meat. Please note that food is not provided on arrival day and only breakfast is provided on the weekend.


Please take note of this project’s minimum requirements:

  • Min age of 17
  • Basic English and/or Chinese
  • Good physical fitness
  • Motivation to work with animals

Chengdu is the capital of the Sichuan Province. It is a well-known city with a rich history and civilization. The province has many places of interest and is famous for its traditional arts and crafts, ethnic folklore and beautiful landscapes. The Shuangliu International Airport and the Chengdu Railway Station allow easy access for visitors to explore the region.

Past volunteers have enjoyed the following activities that this amazing area has to offer (not included in program cost, but the volunteer coordinators would be happy to help arrange these for you):

  • Visit Zhougong hot springs
  • Mount Qingcheng is one of the most famous Taoist mountains in China
  • Explore the city of Ya’an for shopping and general sight seeing
  • Visit the UNESCO World Heritage site of the Leshan Giant Buddah in Chengdu
  • Walk around the ancient town of Shagli

Culture Week
For an additional fee, you have the option to join a one-week orientation program prior to your volunteering week. You will get to know China firsthand through a variety of immersion activities which may include meeting locals, learning useful phrases, visiting important cultural heritage sites, and participating in workshops such as cooking classes and calligraphy lessons. To register, please inform your operations manager after applying to the project!

Chinese Language Classes
If you are interested in gaining a deeper understanding of Chinese culture, consider enrolling in complimentary language lessons! The classes meet once a day for an hour after your volunteering hours. To add this option to your project, simply update your operations manager after applying to the project and we will arrange this for you at no additional cost to you.

Volunteer Experiences

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